General Contact Information
Office of the Provost & Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
One Bernard Baruch Way
New York, NY 10010-5585
135 East 22nd Street, 7th Floor
Office of the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs
This email is being sent to all members of the Baruch College faculty.
For an archive of announcements sent from the Associate Provost beginning June 2011, click here.
From: Dave Christy, Provost
When I returned from a recent trip to Xi’an, China to represent Baruch College’s newly inaugurated Confucius Institute for Global Finance, the concerns that were expressed at the Faculty Senate and by individuals about the CUNY grade submission policy were shared with me. I also discussed the policy with members of the faculty at the labor/management meeting that we collectively hold each semester with your PSC local chapter representatives. These reports and interactions have prompted me to write to you today.
I know that our faculty are committed to the success of our students, and this has been manifest in so many ways. Your response to certification of rosters to insure that financial aid is correctly awarded to students was fantastic, and we are working to implement your suggestions on improvements to the ‘early warning’ messages you send to first year students who appear to be struggling in your classes. Providing students with final grades in a timely manner is similarly important, and for the first time, CUNY has established a system-wide deadline for grade submissions. Let me review the challenges we face that have prompted this new deadline.
Baruch and CUNY have a long history of respecting civil, cultural, and religious observances of our students, staff, and faculty. Doing so does create some unexpected challenges in constructing an academic calendar. Courses must meet a required number of minutes per credit hour, as specified in the New York State Department of Education codes, so the observed holiday schedule requires that we make adjustments, such as following a Monday schedule on a Thursday to insure that all classes meet the required numbers of minutes. Despite routinely beginning the semester prior to Labor Day, a bad decision in the opinions of some, we conduct classes and exams incredibly close to the Christmas holidays so that during the semester, we do not conduct classes that conflict with our observance of other holidays.
Parallel to this calendaring problem is a change in sentiments by our elected representatives, and to a growing segment of the general public, that financial aid awards from the city, state, or federal governments must be awarded only to students in good academic standing, and for courses that meet requirements for their intended degree program. For students like ours who depend on the sources of financial aid, college is less a time for exploration and finding their passion, and increasingly for staying on task to complete the courses that have been mandated by the faculty. I am very aware that many of our faculty are profoundly troubled by this trend, which has been amplified by the continuation requirements for new programs such as Excelsior. These policies are an indication of the demands by many taxpayers for tighter accountability for entitlement programs.
This means that we have to have grades posted, determine academic standing, credits earned, and the prerequisite eligibility and intended degree applicability of every student prior to the start of the January or summer terms. If the student files a change of intended major, that must also be reconciled. If that were not enough, Baruch and CUNY are charged with enforcement. If Pell, TAP, or Excelsior determine later this spring that a student received financial aid for which they were not eligible, the agency takes money from Baruch, and we are tasked with billing the student for the tuition payment that was rescinded.
I hope that you conclude that there isn’t much that can do with the academic calendar short of beginning even earlier in August, and that without your final grades posted to CUNYfirst on schedule, we cannot permit students to enroll in the semester that follows. These students who have incomplete grade reports and who rely on financial aid cannot be permitted to proceed, and we know that not disrupting their term-to-term momentum is an important part of keeping them on track to graduation.
This policy does put a special burden on faculty who give essay exams that are scheduled for the last day or two of the exam schedule, especially if they are unlucky enough to have all three of their sections with exams late in the exam cycle. Despite these challenges, especially for those with exams on the last day, I know that you will do your best to serve our students, and I thank you for your dedication to them.